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Author Topic: Matching skills with NPC fleet commander... takes dedication.  (Read 3337 times)
Megas
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« on: August 12, 2018, 03:42:10 PM »

One of my recurring complaints in the 0.8 era is it is hard for max level player to have as many skills as a max level officer.  After thinking about this more and checking some things, I can see why...

Max level player has 42 skill points.  Officers have 21 skill points, enough for seven max skills.  If we want to match officers at their game, then we really have 33 skill points because we spend nine points for max Combat, Leadership, and Technology aptitudes for unfettered access to skills like officers have.  If we want to spend as many points as officers, that is 21 out of 33 points gone, which leaves 12 left.

Enemy fleet commanders can have points in the following skills:  Fleet Logistics, Coordinated Maneuvers, Fighter Doctrine, and Electronic Warfare.  I do not know how many points they can spend, but if they can have all four maxed, that is 12 points.  We do not need all of those skills maxed.  Eight points will be enough for us.  Fleet Logistics will be at 3, to match max CR of the enemy and prevent them from winning by endurance, not to mention the other perks are great.  Fighter Doctrine should be at 3, so that fighters are durable enough later in the game, and Converted Hangar at 2 is the easiest way to get that hullmod.  Coordinated Maneuvers at 1 is enough to make Nav objectives obsolete, and Electronic Warfare at 1 is enough to defend against ECM from enemy fleet commander (or make Sensor objectives obsolete if enemy does not have ECM).  Now we have four skill points left.

Loadout Design 3 is one of the best perks for everyone.  Three more points spent, one point left.

What to do with that last point?  Well, if you want more combat power, better to spend that last point in Officer Management to get two more guys with 21 skill points each.

For this max level character, we spent all of our skill points, all but four points into skills NPCs use.  No more for Navigation, anything in Industry, or more in Officer Management for more guys and skills.  If we want any of that stuff, we need to take points away from our share of pilot-only skills.  Actually, it is probably a good idea to take two points away from one of your pilot only skills and max Officer Management.  By making our commander weaker than max level officer in personal combat, he has four more max level officers to beat things up for him.  Probably a great bargain.  If we want exploration stuff or fleetwide buffs in Industry, we cut even more out of our personal skill budget to get that stuff.

Bottom line, if we spend points like NPCs, we have very few points left for anything else.
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Linnis
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2018, 06:25:14 PM »

I always end up editing the max level higher.

Personally I wouldn't mind if there was some sort of seperation between combat and other skills.

Either have players gain point a point in combat and other at the same time. Or maybe players don't get combat skills, instead the assigned captain's stats are considered in combat, this way players can play both carrier and other ships equally effectively in the same play through.
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Midnight Kitsune
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 12:26:36 AM »

I too agree that we need separate the combat and fleet skills from each other. Or somehow allow the player to have access to combat skills of other officers. Otherwise the player can screw themselves by taking combat focused skills. This would not be so bad if we could respec. However we can't and taking the wrong skills can make or break a build
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Megas
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 05:11:39 AM »

Being able to respec pilot-only skills would be nice, since pilot would not be locked into a small subset of ships if he takes niche skills.  For example, if I take all three pilot-only carrier skills, then I am probably locked into Astral or other carrier by endgame, and there is not much variety of carriers in the game.  If I want to pilot Onslaught, Paragon, or any other warship instead, I have three useless carrier skills I cannot get rid of.  That is another reason why more Officer Management is a smart idea; train specialists then fire them for replacements if you tire of them.
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Shrugger
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 05:21:15 AM »

But then you'll want to re-spec every time you switch ships to whatever is ideal for that ship.

IMO skills don't fit the game at all.
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Megas
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 06:59:03 AM »

There is a wider variety of warships and one carrier (Legion) doubles as a powerful warship, so building to be good primarily with warships is not a problem since it applies to many ships.  Dedicated combat carriers that are good can be counted on one hand.

Plus, there are generalist pilot-only skills like Combat Endurance and various defensive skills that (nearly) any ship can benefit from.  The highly specialized skills are the three pilot-only carrier skills and possibly Missile Specialization, since not every ship can or wants to use missiles.  Aside, Missile Specialization (and its fighter counterpart, Strike Command) are lame skills, the perk at 3 is good, but the perks before that are junk, or at least better reserved for officers because the bonuses are frivolous for their cost.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 07:03:20 AM by Megas » Logged
Seth
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 02:07:50 PM »

Technically you can just increase levelcap (that's what I did in some of my runs) to be more like a jack-of-all-trades and not be locked in single ship class. It's band aid, but it works. Like I really do enjoy piloting carriers, thus usually start investing for it early on, but later I might get bored and want some brawler, non-combat type or anything else. It just helps to have one campaign instead of 3-5 with different skill sets in case you're looking for something fresh.
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Megas
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2018, 03:09:09 PM »

Until Alex does another skills tweak, raising level cap from 40 to 50 seems like a quick and dirty fix.  XP gain does not slow down much until level 50.  I reach level 40 while still taking out mid-level fleets with recovered pirate cruisers.  I probably can earn few more levels worth of XP before I finally get a capital and a fleet strong enough to take on endgame fleets.

Actually, with colony skills coming and no other skill changes, raising the cap to 50 just so player will not be a combat gimp seems like a good idea.

I did not realize that enemy fleets may have Officer Management.  They need to if their endgame fleet has more than five officers (one fleet commander plus four henchmen).  Seems like player might match NPC fleets if he gives up Loadout Design 3 (no way given how powerful that one perk is to everyone).  Otherwise, player needs to give up combat or fleet power he should have if he wants anything else.
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Nbirdsallxp123
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 04:01:20 PM »

Any thoughts on a feature enabling the player to keep more officers and only be able to field X amount? Then they could be kitted out like your ships!
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fededevi
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2018, 04:04:57 AM »

I think I and other people in the past suggested about the separation of fleet-wide skills and 'ship' skill which would also solve this problem.
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=12350
http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=12176

I think the player should be considered something like the admiral of the fleet and should only be able to get fleet-wide skills. While officers should have only ship/combat related skills.

When the players control a ship it should inherit the skills of the officer piloting the ship.
This would solve the aforementioned problem and also means that you can easily switch ships without making your ship/weapon specific skills useless (e.g. carrier skills or rocket, missile skills). How many times you skipped on a ship because it did not work well with the skills you had chosen?

Basically this would separate piloting skills from other skills, and the system is already in place since there are officers.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 04:24:13 AM by fededevi » Logged
Gothars
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2018, 11:05:54 AM »

I think this would only be a problem in a competitive mutiplayer game or an extremely hard game. It's OK if skills are unbalanced as long as the weaker ones still allow you to overcome the challenges the game provides, which is the case. You can even succeed without any skills at all. I think the main function of skills is to provide a varied gameplay experience from run to run and to allow for roleplaying.
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Momaw
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2018, 12:30:37 PM »

Isn't it kind of a good thing if skills are good enough that you *want* them all but can't do everything at the same time?  Doesn't that lead to meaningful build variety, and replayability?

I'd argue that the real problem is that a "non-combat" admiral has very little to actually do during combat. They won't have the skills to be as good a front line fighter as their combat-specced officers, and most of the other stuff is numeric or systemic buffs rather than a button you can press during combat.

Would be awesome to have in-combat equivalents of the map level stuff like emergency burn, dark mode, etc, abilities on a cooldown that come from investing in fleet support abilities...   ECM commander?  All missiles and fighters currently in flight have a chance of having their guidance system friend. Logistics commander? Relief shipment, restores some combat readiness to your ships based on how many ships you left in reserve...
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Megas
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2018, 03:07:06 PM »

I think this would only be a problem in a competitive mutiplayer game or an extremely hard game. It's OK if skills are unbalanced as long as the weaker ones still allow you to overcome the challenges the game provides, which is the case. You can even succeed without any skills at all. I think the main function of skills is to provide a varied gameplay experience from run to run and to allow for roleplaying.
It is a competitive game... against NPCs, and max level NPC fleet commanders have a skill advantage, no dead aptitude tax, 21 in personal skills, and for fleet commander, (maybe) up to 15 for fleetwide skills.  This is more than the 33 points players get (42 minus 9).  Even mere officers are doing well.  Effective 30 points (21 points and no aptitude tax for a 9 point discount), they are only up to four skills less than you or NPC fleet commander (who gets some among Officer Management, Coordinated Maneuvers, Fleet Logistics, Fighter Doctrine, and Electronic Warfare.)

Why spend three points leveling up one pilot-only skill when I can spend one in Officer Management and get two officers with (up to) 21 skill points (or 7 max skills) each?

My character is the only one who can take fleet or campaign skills.  My officers can only take pilot-only skills.  It is like officers are telling player "We need a healbot for our balanced party, and only you can do it, so you take those support skills and like it while we take all of the combat glory, har har!  You dare not weaken our fleet by trying to become one of us, slave!"

Yes, I can make due with no skills, but being stuck with a stock ship while NPC officers get overtuned ships is no fun.  However, if I try to match NPCs, I probably end up gimping the fleet due to lack of points.

My point is if you try to match NPCs in skills spent, you have none left for anything else.  No Loadout Design 3, no Navigation, nothing in Industry.  This is not mentioning that 21 points dedicated to pilot-only skills is not enough to get all such skills.  Officers cannot get everything.  There are more than enough pilot-only skills that you cannot get them all even if you sink everything into as many as you can.

And we will get more skills for colonies, but maybe no more skill points.  We are already squeezed enough, and it will only get worse if we get no relief.

Isn't it kind of a good thing if skills are good enough that you *want* them all but can't do everything at the same time?  Doesn't that lead to meaningful build variety, and replayability?
Not really, especially if NPCs have more skills than you.  Or that NPCs have nearly or as many skills as you, but they can only take the fun personal stuff while you are forced to take fleetwide or campaign stuff to make everyone better, and if you try to emulate your fellow officers, you gimp your fleet because you do not have enough skill points to branch out a little.

You are strongly pushed toward "non-combat" admiral, if you want to have the strongest fleet.  If you try to be as competent as a max level officer, you spend all of your skill points doing so and have nothing left... and probably gimp your fleet because you had the audacity to get to their level and have no points left to get the fleetwide/campaign/exploration skills.

P.S.  You can fire officers and train replacements if you do not need their skills anymore.  You cannot fire yourself (short of a starting a new game).  Want to be the best Astral pilot?  You get all of the carriers skills.  What, you tired of playing carrier and want to pilot Paragon now?  Sorry, you have useless skills, you will like being a carrier pilot for the rest of your game.  You should have taken general-purpose skills for yourself and trained an officer for the job of piloting a carrier instead.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 03:12:33 PM by Megas » Logged
Retry
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2018, 03:33:42 PM »

I have to agree with Momaw, actual meaningful choices would lead to more build variety of gameplay.  While perhaps "OK" if skills are unbalanced, it'd be preferable if they were.

While not a *big* problem it's still something worth looking at.
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Momaw
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2018, 06:49:07 PM »

How overpowered would it be if you could ride tandom with an Officer? Maybe only on bigger ships. Like Cruisers and Capital scale ships, if they have an Operations Center module, you can assign an Officer but ALSO use it as your personal flagship. Skillset used is the highest rank that either of you has.

(Though I still personally really like the idea of giving in-combat clickies to non-combat skills.)
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